Holy Monastery of Esfigmenou,
Proclamation of the Reinstatement
It is with great honor that we take this opportunity to address and inform
all pious Christians and, in general, everybody who holds in the highest regard
and respect the Holy Mountain. Based on a decision taken by the Holy Community
of Mount Alhos, our Holy Monastery is once again returning to the road of
ecclesiastical and customary union with the Holy Mountain under the help of God
and the providence of the Most Holy Theotokos who ceaselessly looks after the
care and the course of Her garden. Thus, our humble brotherhood has been asked
and granted the awesome task of the reopening of the Monastery of Esfigmenou.
We are assuming this copious task having full knowledge of the great sense of
duty attached to it and also ready, with the Grace of God, to face all of the
existing and upcoming needs. We have already taken the necessary steps to
gradually proceed with the complete restoration of all the Monastery's functions
constantly beseeching God to guide and enlighten us throughout this process.
It is well renowned that the central building of the Monastery complex is
currently under the control of a group of men. These individuals are erroneously
portraying themselves as the sole defenders of Orthodox Dogmas and consider the
rest of the monks of Mount Athos and Orthodox Christians to be of false faith.
Consequently, we would like to direct our love aid attention to these
individuals and to explain that we do not have any personal conflicts with any
of them. However, we do cultivate the hope that this statement will reach the
hands of one of them. We also prompt them to read it, consider its content and
respond, in relationship to themselves, to some of the following: Are they
apprehensive of the state of affairs in which they have
been implicated? More specifically, the Church has declared them schismatic
while their brotherhood is considered disbanded by the Holy Mountain, In
addition, the Greek civil authorities are already taken the necessary steps
required to carry out the decisions reached by the Holy Community based on which
the individuals are to be removed from the grounds of the Athonite Mountain
after having all of their appeals rejected by the General Council of the country.
These individuals should be apprehensive of the feet that all decisions are
irreversible and they now operate under a slate of lawlessness and disorder. The
individuals are no longer regarded as monks of the Monastery of Esfigmenou nor
of the community of the Holy Mountain.
The aforementioned facts are in effect for the majority of the group whose basis
does not have access to the information available thus disregarding (the
decisions) and suffering within the walls of the Monastery's central building.
To those who are part of this group we would like to extend our hands in a
gesture of friendship and love and invite them to join us with a spirit of
sincerity. Let it be known, that in our company they will find a shelter and a
This is also intended for those few who are leading this situation and who,
unquestionably, are aware of the reality and the seriousness of the matter.
However, they tend to introduce their personal beliefs as ones shared by an
entire brotherhood which is portrayed as united in solidarity. By spreading
false rumors and accusations they try to depict themselves as being persecuted
and in danger. In all reality, they are disappointed because they failed to
accomplish their mission in which so passionately hoped for, that is, to give a
picture of themselves as martyrs over the television set. And now, they are
trying to provoke others with a profound disdain (claiming): "Our brotherhood is
going to abandon the Holy Monastery of Esfigmenou to the disappointment of Mr.
Bartholomew and the Holy Community of the Holy Mountain of Athos and going
against the decision made by the General Council." Their position creates a
great deal of skepticism and concern to any rational human being along with the
friends of the Holy Mountain and also raises concerns as to how can it be
possible for these individuals to have the audacity to display such ridicule and
lack of concern towards the decisions made by the Supreme Court of the Country
to which they have appealed.
If there were other people who had made the appeals, it would have been logical
to deny the accusations and to not uphold the decisions. But how can it be
possible for them to use the name of our Lord and the Most Ho' y Lady the
Theotokos and portray themselves as the only authentic interpreters of the
divine will based solely on their one¬sided interpretation of the Holy Tradition?
How can it be possible to object so fervently to the decisions of the legal
authorities which were expressed so clearly and in such great detail through a
series of ecclesiastical and civil acts along with judicial decisions? In
addition to that we would like to point out the spirit of forbearance and
tolerance that has been exercised in the handling of this matter for a decade or
so by the community of the Mount Athos. We would also like to ask them the
following: Based on what principles do they differentiate themselves from the
rest of the offenders of the law who are persecuted and punished for their acts
without any exception? What is their aim from the eradication of every law and
customs of the Holy Mountain and the Greek Government? In addition: Who is
supporting them and their efforts? Is it possible that this may involve powers
from across the Atlantic which they are trying to reach given that their website
is written exclusively in the English language?
However, afar from die obvious concern about others involved and their
intentions we consider it more meaningful to focus completely on the situation
in question. To all our brothers and sisters who are concerned about the
whereabouts of the Monastery of Esfigmenou and in particular its main building,
we would like to report that it is currently under nobody's command. Neither the
Holy Mountain nor the Greek Government has been able to approach the Monastery.
Thus, they have been unable to exercise their supervision on matters of affairs
they are responsible. Evidently, for many years now the current establishment of
the monastery has prohibited the Greek Government from gaining access to the
grounds thus hindering the completion of their work on artifacts from the
ancient times. Although the Holy Community of Mount Athos is the primary
guardian and safe keeper of all the artifacts and the Library, they have not
been successful in entering the Monastery of Esfigmenou. Even on-duty police
officers have been denied access and were restricted from performing their
duties. In contrast, the people who are currently in charge of running the
Monastery and its affairs are not strangers to the authorities of the Holy
Community which based on the Greek Constitution is the official governing body
of Mount Athos. These individuals have in their possession speed boats which are
being used without any restrictions although the nature of their use and what is
being moved through them is unknown.
All these events have become of significant importance given the fact that the
Monastery of Esfigmenou is an official institution recognized by the government
with rights to decide about their own matters. As a result, all of the main
structures of the monastery along with all of its property and assets are under
the control of those who occupy it.
We find it of considerable importance to direct our attention to all the Holy
Fathers and beloved brothers of the community of the Holy Mountain along with
the rest of the followers of the Old Calendar who live outside the community of
Mount Athos, the majority of which lead quiet and pious lives that are inspired
by the ideals of our Orthodox faith. We call upon all of them and we ask them to
exercise their discretion and make a distinction between their own circumstances
and those of the individuals who illegally occupy the Monastery's complex. That
is, to distinguish between their conduct of sensitivity, tranquility, expression
of love and humility and the monks? display of fanaticism, extremism, hate, and
In closing, we would like to reaffirm our position that we are all here working
meticulously with a deep conviction that with the Grace of God our mission will
be completed successfully. At the same time we are calling upon everybody asking
them to rise to the occasion, remain vigilant of the possible dangers, and take
a stand on this decisive matter.
The abbot of the Monastery of Esfigmenou
and my brothers in Christ with me.